Saturday, February 1, 2014

Nike, Amazon, and Two Incredible Elementary Schools

I'm an avid Nike shopper, and have literally invested thousands of dollars in shoes, clothing, and accessories over the years.  Nike has created a brand that I feel is top quality, visually attractive, and trend-setting.  When I see the swoosh on apparel, billboards, and TV commercials, I know what to expect.  Amazon is another company that gets it done consistently; I am impressed each time that I order from them.  Amazon has developed a name for themselves by focusing on unbelievable, user-friendly tools and customer service that is second to none.  What's stopping schools from creating similar brands?    


Over the past six months I have spent a great deal of time listening to experts, reading blogs, participating in Twitter chats, and having face to face conversations about creating a brand for our schools.  After listening to @NMHS_Principal, @Joe_Mazza, @TonySinanis, @Joesanfelippofc and @casas_jimmy, I came to realize what an incredible opportunity we have as educators to spread positive messages about our schools through the use of social media.


This is my eleventh year in education and second serving as principal of Epworth and Farley Elementary Schools.  During this time, I have learned that people in the community and of course the media are going to talk about our schools, and many times the conversation is less than positive.  This is due to a couple of reasons: 1). The media needs to sell newspapers and in order to do this, controversial stories criticizing public schools are often created.  2).  Members of the public and media are often uninformed of the wonderful things that are happening in schools each and every day.  As leaders, we have a responsibility to tell the story of our schools by sharing student and staff accomplishments, amazing projects, quality writing, assessment results, student created videos, among many other fantastic happenings on a daily basis.  Sharing with our communities has never been easier now that we have access to incredible social media tools such as Twitter, Remind 101, Facebook, Instagram, Pintrest, Google Hangouts, You Tube, and blogs.  As I am completing classroom walkthroughs, I am able to snap pictures of students demonstrating the partial quotient method of division and tweet it out in a matter of seconds for the world to see.  After a Parent Teacher Organzation meeting, I am able to tweet the notes for those who could not attend as soon as the meeting is over.  We have been able to create promotional videos of our schools, post to You Tube, websites, and share via Twitter for hundreds of people to see.  There are so many tools at our disposal to provide real time information to families, community members, and stakeholders.  People in the community are going to talk about our schools, we might as well provide them with positive information that is is an accurate representation of our schools.


So what is the story that we are trying to create at Epworth and Farley Elementary Schools?  Our schools are places where relationships are valued, students achieve at high levels, family and community involvement is critical, and staff members go out of their way to make sure that the needs of all children are met.  We are proud of our accomplishments, and are focused on getting a little bit better every single day.  Social media has allowed us to share our story while creating a brand for many to see. We are certainly not at the level of Nike or Amazon; however, hopefully members of our learning community have a better idea of what Epworth and Farley Elementary Schools are all about. 

          
Feel free to follow Epworth Elementary @EpworthElem and Farley Elementary @FESBobcats on Twitter or visit www.ees.wdbqschools.org | www.fes.wdbqschools.org; we would love to connect with you. Our videos can be found here as well: Epworth Elementary VideoFarley Elementary Video.  What is your story?

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